Anyway Italy! I went on a school trip to Sorrento and Rome.
Really pretty town. It's on the coast so if you head down to the Marina (be warned- the steps back up are a killer!) you can walk on the beach- or if you prefer the lazy option- head to St.Francis' Cloister you reach the edge, where there are some beautiful views:
In Sorrento there are quite a few little boutiques, many cafes, bars and restaurants. I had a yummy crepe from a little crepe and ice cream stand one of the many narrow streets.
All together I would recommend a trip to Sorrento!
We only went to Naples for a day because we were visiting the Archeological Museum to see the artefacts that have been removed from Pompeii. From what I saw Naples was really run down and dirty. Unless you were in the beautiful museums- there wasn't much there. The museum itself was very good.
Herculaneum is a Roman town destroyed from the Vesuvius eruption in 79AD. It is MUCH smaller than Pompeii but I thoroughly enjoyed the site. I would recommend going here before Pompeii just so you aren't disappointed. There is a car park and toilets on site- but like all toilets in Italy, they are grubby. Herculaneum is a residential town so there are few shops and a lot of houses. Here are a few of my pictures:
Do not be deceived- Pompeii is HUGE! It takes hours to go round and you won't get to see everything. My advice is research what you definitely want to see- plan your route and pay close attention to the map and road names- it is very easy to get lost. I loved Pompeii, the villas are much grander than those at Herculaneum- I recommend House of the Faun. Quite a few buildings and roads were shut or blocked off due to restorations which was disappointing. This is a cafe and toilets by the forum and they see lovely ice cream for about 3.5 euros. On a separate note- the Italians are very generous with their scoops so where you once needed 2- you now only need 1! Watch out for large school parties- avoid the buildings they are in- you can always come back to them. I would definitely recommend Pompeii- I didn't get to see everything so I will have to go back one day! If you want to see the casts- the only ones I saw were in the forum.
My tips for the sites- Pompeii, Herculaneum and Ostia
- Stock up on water from a local supermarket- much cheaper.
- BUY A MAP! They are about 2 euros and they make all the difference!
- Put on your sun cream- I use Ultrasun- seems expensive but once a day application! Put it on in the morning- 20 minutes before you go out and voila! I didn't burn at all.
- Wear a cap/hat. There is no shelter- except in ruins with roofs! It is very easy to get sun stroke.
- Charge your camera the night before. Make sure you have a decent memory card too- I took a lot of photos!
- Have 5 euro notes and change- it's much easier to buy ice creams, maps and snacks.
Very cloudy at the top when we went- bad idea. Nothing to see, steep and barren. Watch out for the stick con- don't take the 'free' one being offered by men at the bottom- it's not. I wouldn't recommend it- probably better if the skies are clear though.
Wow. I fell in love with Rome. The buildings are just beautiful. We went to all the attractions- the fountains, the Vatican etc- the Trevi Fountain was my favourite. St.Peters is very ornate- lots of statues, gold ceilings etc. Remember there are security checks- bags and body scanners before you can go in. We climbed St.Peters- do not do if you are remotely claustrophobic or unfit. There are 500 steps and as you get near the top- the ceiling slants and it is very narrow. However it is sooooo worth it. The view is INCREDIBLE:
We walked everywhere in Rome. It is tiring! Make sure you have a good map and some really comfortable shoes on! Walking is the best way- its free and much easier than driving!
Just off the square where the Pantheon is located is a little street where there is Spar and a great pizzeria- I think it's called Super Pizza? Also on the other side of the Piazza della Rotunda is a Gelateria where they sell yummy Nutella crepes and even nutella ice cream?! My friend had that- it was a bit sickly! Really wish I could remember the name of it!
The Colosseum was a bit disappointing for me- perhaps I had too high expectations. Definitely go though- it is very impressive!
Roman Forum is quite small but I really liked it. The Capitoline hill is next to the Forum and the Museum has a great view out over the forum.
A few tips for Rome:
- Sun cream
- Keep your money and cameras close to you- zipped away at all times.
- Watch out for the really annoying street sellers- tell them no.
- Walk! COMFORTABLE shoes!
- Have an ice cream!
Outside of Rome- you will need transport. Larger than Herculaneum but smaller than Pompeii. There is a mixture of houses and public buildings, unlike Herculaneum- it has a forum. There is a good cafe/restaurant, shop and museum here. I really like Ostia- a highlight for me.
I had a lovely time- and the weather was great! I recommend going in April- fewer people and perfect temperature for the sites!